Klamath Basin News, Monday, 6/29 – All Oregonians Must Wear a Mask beginning Wednesday; Seven New Covid Cases in County; Crater Lake Rim Run Cancelled

The latest news stories in the Klamath Basin and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, BasinLife.com, Mick Insurance and The Herald & News.

MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today   Sunny, with a high near 73. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Overnight, clear with a low of 46.

Tuesday   Sunny, with a high near 76. Light west wind becoming west northwest 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday   Sunny, with a high near 78.

Thursday   Sunny, with a high near 83.

Friday   Sunny, with a high near 84.

Saturday, Independence Day   Sunny, with a high near 85.

Today’s Headlines

It’s official.  All in Oregon must wear a mask, beginning Wednesday.

Gov. Kate Brown announced this afternoon that she will require Oregonians to wear face masks everywhere in the state — not just a handful of select counties — to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Brown said her new order takes effect Wednesday, and requires people in Oregon to wear a mask whenever they’re in a public indoor space, such as grocery stores, gyms and shopping malls.

Brown had been hesitant to require Oregonians to cover their mouths and noses for weeks and weeks, saying the cloth face coverings are helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and should be worn. Brown recommended that the state’s residents wear face coverings as of late, but repeatedly declined to require them — saying she had confidence that Oregonians would do the right thing.

Then last Wednesday, after it became clear that coronavirus cases in Oregon are surging, Brown began requiring masks in seven counties making up about 55 percent of the state’s population. Those counties were Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Marion, Polk, Hood River and Lincoln.

Again, all Oregonians are to wear masks at indoor spaces in public, beginning Wednesday.

Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) officials report seven new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Sunday, June 28, bringing the total to 118. Of the 118 cases, 52 have recovered. There are 66 active cases in Klamath County.

As of this morning, 5,021 tests have been processed for Klamath County. Contact tracing and active monitoring are important tools that public health uses to limit further spread of disease.

Effective contact tracing aims to identify additional cases related to close contact exposure and provides guidance on isolation and quarantine to prevent further spread of the virus. Oregon Health Authority reports 247 new cases of COVID-19 within the state of Oregon for Sunday’s numbers.

This brings the number of cases in the state to 8,341. The death toll remains at 202. 

Neither of the groups involved with what have become traditions at Crater Lake National Park are happy about having to cancel this year’s events, including the Crater Lake Rim Runs and the Ride the Rim Days, but they agree it’s a necessary decision.  

Rob Coffman, race director for the Crater Lake Rim Runs, announced the cancellation of the event Friday due to the Corona virus.   Runs have been held for 43 consecutive years each August. The Rim Runs feature distances of 6.7, 13.1 and 26.2 miles (marathon) and 6.7-mile walk. The event is limited to 500 entrants and typically draws runners from across the nation. Coffman noted recent Rim Runs have gone on despite smoke from nearby forest fires and despite lightning storms.

Discover Klamath has sponsored and promoted the Ride the Rim events the past several years. The rides, which have attracted upwards of 5,000 bicyclists and walkers over the two days, are held along a 23-mile portion of East Rim Drive that is closed to motorized vehicles from the North Entrance Road junction to park headquarters. This year’s rides were scheduled for September 12 and 18.

For locals who are planning a trip to Portland, a convenient, inexpensive travel option will soon be available.

RNO PDX Bus Lines will begin service between Reno (RNO) and Portland (PDX) on Aug. 7. Buses going both ways will stop at Castel’s Southside Chevron in Klamath Falls. Northbound trips to Portland run every Friday, arriving in Klamath Falls at 12:25 p.m. and leaving at 12:40 p.m. Southbound trips to Reno go every Sunday, stopping in Klamath Falls at 4:55 p.m. while departing at 5:10 p.m.

Travel time for the 288-mile ride to Portland is only 5 hours. Stops in Portland include Union Station, the Greyhound curbside stop, and various hotels. Passengers can also go to Eugene, Albany, or Lake Oswego or in the other direction to Reno.

New modeling of the COVID-19 virus shows that COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly in Oregon, according to the latest model released today by the Oregon Health Authority and the Institute for Disease Modeling.

The model, which is based on data through June 18, offers three projections — optimistic, moderate and pessimistic — predicting that daily case levels could rise as much as 20 percentage points. The modeling assumes that hospitalizations from COVID-19 remain stable and testing remains at its present level of approximately 4,000 a day: OHA uses this modeling for data analysis and planning purposes and releases it on a bi-weekly basis.

Gov. Kate Brown says she’ll call a second special legislative session this summer to fix a state budget wrecked by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis and wants to use coronavirus relief funds to help support the Black community and working people.  

The Oregon Legislature wrapped up its first special session Friday after passing bills dealing with police accountability and the pandemic. At a Saturday news conference, Brown said she would wait to call another special session to see if federal lawmakers approve assistance for local governments. She said she may call lawmakers back to Salem in late July or early August. The Oregon Senate on Friday unanimously passed a bill that makes it easier to uphold discipline against police by lessening the power of arbitrators. The measure, which moves to the House, is one in a package of police reform measures before Oregon lawmakers during the special session that began this week. It passed the upper chamber following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed and died last month after a white Minneapolis police officer held a knee to his neck. Currently, police unions can call upon an arbitrator to review discipline handed down to a police officer and overturn disciplinary decisions.

Arbitrators have reversed high-profile officer dismissals in Oregon before. Senate Bill 1604 restricts what arbitrators can do in disciplinary cases and binds them to rule within the discipline guide.

After the second day of the 2020 special legislative session, Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives are said to be happy with the passage of a bill that would end the practice of suspending Oregon driver licenses for overdue fines and fees.

House Bill 2020 also declares an emergency, making it effective immediately if passed and signed into law. Democrats cited the Oregon Law Center, which found more than 334,000 license suspensions over the past decade. Many of those were for people who could not pay court fines and fees from other infractions, perpetuating “cycles of debt and poverty,” and restricting the ability for someone to go to work, school, or the doctor. According to data from a recent Oregon Criminal Justice Commission report, Black and Latinx people are disproportionately stopped, ticketed, charged, and convicted for traffic infractions.

Oregon stands out on the West Coast for the way its voting districts are drawn. Unlike neighbors California, Idaho and Washington, redistricting in Oregon is a political process decided by the party in power.

The threat of gerrymandering is high. Executive Director of Common Cause Oregon Kate Titus says politicians typically draw districts behind closed doors using elaborate data.

Titus says a coalition of groups is looking to change that. Signatures are being collected for an initiative to create an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission. Its backers have until July 2nd to collect about 150-thousand signatures. Critics of the idea say creating the commission would leave out some marginalized groups.

Klamath Falls News from partnership with the Herald and News, empowering the community.

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